Baghdad: A series of coordinated evening blasts in Baghdad and other violence killed at least 67 people in Iraq today, officials said, the latest in a months-long surge of bloodshed that Iraqi security forces are struggling to contain.
Many of those killed were caught up in a string of car bombings that tore through the Iraqi capital early in the evening as residents were out shopping or heading to dinner. Those blasts struck 11 different neighbourhoods and claimed more than 50 lives in a span of less than two hours.
The killing comes amid a spike in deadly violence in recent months as insurgents try to capitalise on rising sectarian and ethnic tensions. The scale of the bloodshed has risen to levels not seen since 2008, a time when Iraq was pulling back from the brink of civil war.
The evening`s deadliest attack happened when two car bombs exploded near restaurants and shops Baghdad`s northeastern suburb of Husseiniyah, a Shiite area, killing nine people and wounding 32.
A row of restaurants was also hit in the largely Shiite eastern neighbourhood of Talibiyah, killing seven and wounding 28. Another car bomb hit the nearby Shiite neighbourhood of Sadr City, killing three and wounding eight, according to police.
At around the same time, authorities say back-to-back car bombs blew up near a police station in the western neighbourhood of Sadiyah, a mainly Sunni area, killing six and wounding 15.
Another blast hit a central square in the commercial district of Karradah, killing six and wounding 14.
The force of the blast shattered the windows of Karim Sami`s nearby clothing shop. Like many Iraqis in recent months, he expressed frustration with the Shiite-led government`s inability to stop repeated attacks despite assurances that it is tightening security.
"We started to feel a little bit safe over the past few days because they were relatively calm, but the violence is back today," he said.
"Whenever the government assures us that security is being tightened, we see attacks like these."
Car bombs also struck shopping streets in the religiously mixed western neighbourhood of Shurta, killing five people and wounding 12; the southeastern Shiite neighbourhood of Zafaraniyah, killing four and wounding 11; the southern Shiite neighborhood of Abu Dashir, killing two and wounding nine; the mostly Shiite New Baghdad area, killing six people and wounding 17; and the largely Sunni Dora neighbourhood, killing two and wounding five, according to police.